Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 4 - Masquerade Dance Party

Ah, yes. The famous/infamous Masquerade. I personally love this one. Not everyone does. We'll see how this goes...

If you're going to make Usagi a princess, this is how you'd do it.
The episode opens with Luna cataloging the three Guardians, plus one mysterious figure in the Awesome Shiny Command Center. 

Jared: Suspicious Character!

Opening credits roll, 'cause we got shit to deal with.

Morning at the Tsukino residence finds Luna coaxing Usagi awake.

Jared: Heh - she fell asleep reading manga! She even slept on it!

Me: At least she was in her pajamas.

Usagi: Why didn't you wake me up earlier, Luna?

Luna: That's what you get for staying up late reading manga...

Jared: Even the cat's scolding her.

Have we mentioned lately that Luna is Jared's favorite?

While Usagi is rushing out the door, her mom is reading a newspaper report that Sailor Moon has saved the day again.

Ikuko: Too bad Usagi can't be more like [Sailor Moon].

Jared: Dramatic irony! And exposition! Two-for!

Already late, Usagi is stuck at a crosswalk, but she has an idea.

Usagi (indicating the disguise pen in her pocket): I know! I'll just transform into a marathon runner!

Luna: Usagi, you can't do that!

Usagi: Why not?

Jared: But... would that actually help, though?

Me: I'm not sure...

Luna (narrating): This pouty-faced girl is Usagi Tsukino, also known as the Guardian of Love and Justice, Sailor Moon.

Jared: Why are we getting more exposition? We know who they are.

Me: Just in case you forgot. Oh, and if she wanted to get there in a hurry, she'd want to transform into a sprinter.

Jared: Well, yes.

Usagi runs into Naru, who provides the Necessary Drive-By Info Dump for this episode.

Naru: Did you pass that police road block on your way?

Usagi: Yeah, what's going on?

Naru: You've heard of the Kingdom of D, right? Where all the gems come from?

Jared (laughing): "The Kingdom of D"?? It's called "D." One letter! Whooo!

Me: It's supposed to be generic.

Later, Ami and Rei are at the arcade waiting for Usagi and Luna meet up with them. Luna comes before Usagi, on account of Usagi getting detention for falling asleep in class. In the meantime, Luna also provides audience exposition for them as well.

Luna: Rei's a shrine maiden who goes to T.A. Girls Academy. She has spiritual powers. Rei is Sailor Mars.

Jared: Are these spiritual powers ever defined?

Me: Not really. They're probably some kind of psychic powers.

Rei plays the Sailor V game and Ami coaches her through it. Rei beats the game and she and Ami high-five.

Rei: I'm sorry...

Jared: But why is she sorry?

Ami: For what?

Yeah, we never figure out why.

Usagi makes it to the meeting and the girls and Luna discuss their mission to beat evil monsters, find the princess, and the Legendary Silver Crystal.

Luna: The Legendary Silver Crystal is a sacred stone that is supposed to be a source of unlimited power.

Ami: If that's the case, then I think it's safe to assume that the monsters want it too.

Jared: Did they say they wanted it?

While Ami, Rei, and Luna determine that finding the princess and the LSC is important, Usagi is otherwise occupied.

Usagi (playing a video game): Ha! Take that! And that!

Jared: *inelegant snort* Of course, she wasn't paying any attention at all!

Luna berates Usagi for not taking this more seriously. While this is going on, Motoki and Umino walk in to provide even MORE drive-by exposition for this episode. Kingdom of D, Princess D... etc.

Jared: You know, it's a good thing there's no one else there to hear LUNA TALKING!

Usagi talks dreamily about the concept of a real-life princess and wonders if Princess D is a beautiful girl.

Umino: I got a picture of [Princess D] even though it's nearly impossible to get one! Wanna see?

Jared: But, the internet exists!

Is it just me, or does Umino sound like a creepy stalker weirdo all the time?

Jared: Yeah, those glasses on someone with that much money... it's kind of sad.

In other news, the Dark Kingdom is doing... Dark Kingdom things.

Kunzite: Failed again, Jadeite? Shame on you!

Jared: Well, he did manage not to die.

Zoicite: I heard those Sailor Guardians are also looking for the Crystal.

Jared: From where?

Me: Maybe Umino told them. He tells everybody else everything.

Queen Beryl: My Four Kings of Heaven!

Beryl's Boys: Queen Beryl!

Jared: I love how their titles are so inconsistent. Kings of Heaven... what was the other one?

Me: Generals of the Dark Kingdom...

Back in the Real World, Usagi comes home to find her dad getting dressed up for something important and fancy.

Jared: Is this the first time we've seen him? Or have we seen him once before?

Me: This is the first time.

Jared: (pause) He doesn't look old enough to have a fourteen-year-old daughter.

Usagi: What are you all dressed up for, Dad? You look great!

Kenji: I'm going to the ball at the Kingdom of D's embassy!

Jared: Now, why is he going?

Me: He works for a magazine.

Jared: So he's a journalist.

Me: Basically.

Usagi is heartbroken that she doesn't get to go, but she decides to take matters into her own hands and uses the Moon Disguise Pen to transform into a princess. And - like I mentioned at the beginning - THIS is how you make Usagi Tsukino into a princess. Not... that other thing. And it's not a spoiler for me to mention that.

Jared: You know, if she really wants to be in disguise, she needs to change the hair buns.

Me: Well - the hair color too.

Jared: True. I mean, how many blonde-haired, blue-eyed Japanese girls are there?

Me: Not many. Even in this version - the "mundanes" all have some shade of brown or black hair. Only the main characters have the multi-colored hair thing going. And even then, it's not all of them.

Somehow, Usagi gets Ami and Rei to go along with this and the three of them are outside the embassy trying to get into the ball.

Luna: Usagi, are you sure we're going to be able to get into this thing?

Ami: Yeah, we weren't invited.

Usagi: Don't worry about that, Ami. Just leave it to me.

Jared (laughs): What is her plan?? How is she going to get in?

Gate Guard: Excuse me ladies (The girls freeze) I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but we don't allow pets inside. He picks up Luna. You'll have to leave your cat with us.

Ami: Oh. Well, thanks for taking care of her.

Luna (internal monologue between yowling): Don't leave me!

Jared: Poor Luna! But... HOW DID THAT WORK?? Was he just so focused on the cat that he didn't even think to ask for their invitations?

Me: Maybe the "Magic Change Power" did something...

The girls make it inside. Ami and Rei discussing how best to keep Princess D from danger, while Usagi realizes - with joy - that it's a Masquerade!

Jared: You don't have masks!

Usagi takes off to the dance floor, leaving Ami and Rei to deal with the more pressing issues of why they're there in the first place.

Jared: And already she's shirking her duties.

Usagi heads into the ballroom, passing her dad (who doesn't really recognize her, but kind of does). And then she sees the dancing -

Jared: How does she see over everybody? She's not that tall.

Me: Canonically, she's not even five-foot.

A random person bumps into Usagi, spilling champagne on Usagi's dress. Usagi frantically searches for her handkerchief to dry off with.

Jared: She's not having a very good day...

Elsewhere, Ami and Rei see Princess D being escorted by advisers getting ready for the ball's main event - the unveiling of the Kingdom of D's treasure.

Adviser 1: Princess, it's also time to unveil the treasure.

Jared: With no actual security... Well, one security. Who looks like of wormy...

Rei agrees. Sort of.
If Rei Hino ever makes this face at you, run far away.
Outside, Usagi sulks because her dress is ruined and she can't find her friends and she's not having as good a time as she thought she would.

Jared: Okay, but your dress is magic. Just un-transform and redo it. Good as new! How hard could it be?

Usagi sees a couple coming out of the ballroom onto the balcony - sort of flirting with each other?

Woman: You're a very good dancer.

Man: That's only because I was dancing with you.

Woman: Oh stop!

Man: No, really...

Jared: What a smarmy voice.

Usagi (inner monologue): I'm wearing a beautiful dress. I can dance as well as anybody.

Me: Can you?

Jared: Yeah - I mean, you're a self-proclaimed klutz.

Someone approaches Usagi from out of the shadows and offers her his hand.

Tuxedo Mask: Beautiful princess, may I have this dance?

Usagi: Tuxedo Mask? What are you doing here?

Jared: Well, what are you doing here? Think about it. Actually, no - what are Jupiter and Mars doing here?

Me: Mercury.

Jared: Mercury. What did I say?

Me: Jupiter.

Jared: Oh. Well, you knew what I meant.

Usagi goes onto the dance floor with Tuxedo Mask and they dance together. It's damn adorable. 

Jared: That's okay - this is basically a fun little episode with romance.

Me: Does that bother you?

Jared: Well, no. That's the whole point of the show!

Usagi (inner monologue): I wish - I could dance with him forever!

Me: In those shoes?

From the balcony windows, Luna looks in and sees Usagi dancing. 

Luna: What is she doing now??

Tuxedo Mask stops and takes off.

Jared: Why did he run away? Did he hear Luna? Of course, how did she get in?

Luna goes up to Usagi and berates her for trusting Tuxedo Mask - since Luna doesn't seem to trust him much, neither should Usagi. I guess?

Luna: Usagi? Are you blushing?

Usagi: Never mind that! How did you get in here?

Luna: I snuck in from the balcony.

Jared: Oh.

Luna: What happened to Rei and Ami?

Jared: They're working!

Meanwhile, Princess D is bemoaning the fact that the people are only here to see the treasure and not her. The "female adviser" turns out to be Nephrite in disguise.

Nephrite: True! I don't care about you at all! Now give me that secret treasure! 

Princess D: Oh! An intruder!

Jared: A cross-dressing intruder! That's kind of creepy, really.

Ami and Rei bust into the room just as Nephrite summons magic to possess Princess D.

Ami and Rei: Princess D!

Jared: Wait - she's Princess D, the Princess of D?

Me: Yep.

Jared: That's... that's brilliant, that it.

Under Nephrite's control, Princess D runs past Ami and Rei out into the ballroom.

Jared: That's pretty fast for a princess. 

Me: She's been possessed by a magical evil... thing.

Jared: Well, yes. The point stands.

Ami and Rei transform and go after her.

Princess D tears off across the ballroom while security guards (oh, sure - NOW they show up!) try to stop her.

Jared: Okay, they're acting a little weird there.
Princess D knocks everyone in the ballroom out with her magic.

Jared: That is pretty impressive power. 

Usagi goes after Princess D onto the balcony. Princess D knocks her off over the edge. Tuxedo Mask grabs Usagi at the last possible moment.

Jared: You know, gripping anything with gloves like that is not easy.

Even so, they're both slipping and it doesn't look good for Our Intrepid Heroes.

Luna: Usagi! Use your pen!

Usagi: My pen?

Jared: How did Luna know it was going to do that?

Luna: *sighs*

Jared: *snort* Ear-emoting... 

What? Your ears don't droop like that?

Tuxedo Mask: This time it was you who saved me. Are you hurt?

Usagi (dazed as all get out):

Jared: It's a good thing that's a magical umbrella, 'cause with a normal umbrella that's just stupid. But, you know - magic.

Luna: Usagi! Hurry up and transform!

Jared: I guess she's given up trying to pretend she doesn't speak when she's around him.

Me: He's long gone.

Jared: No, I mean the "Usagi, use your pen!" He had to hear that! And *ahem* her name. So, yeah... I guess even Luna isn't perfect. 

He sounds disappointed in saying that.

Jared: Admittedly if she hadn't said anything, Usagi wouldn't have known how to use the pen to do the magic-umbrella-Mary-Poppins-thing...

Usagi: Oh no! My tiara! When I used it in the last battle, it got destroyed!

Jared: You just now thought of that?

But even as she realizes she has no tiara, her encounter with Tuxedo Mask has somehow given her a brand new tiara!

Usagi: What's happening? I feel so warm inside! Like when Tuxedo Mask took my hand - it's his warmth! I can feel it making me stronger!

Jared: It's the power of flirting!

Me (laughing): That maybe the title of this post! Or at least the Facebook tease...

And the transformation sequence can be completed. Thank goodness.

Sailor Moon shows up to give her schpiel to the bad guys and pose prettily.
Jared: Were those flowers always there?

Me: I think so...

Jared: Oh - I hadn't noticed.

Customary panicking ensues when Sailor Mars's power - so effective last time - doesn't do diddly-squat in this predicament. Of course.

Tuxedo Mask: Sailor Moon! The only way to banish the darkness is with a stronger light!

Luna (translating from Tux's cheesy-ese): Usagi! Quick! Use the new tiara to reflect the moonlight onto [Nephrite]!

Jared: How did he [Tuxedo Mask] know that?

Me: That's he superpower.

Sailor Moon: Moon Twilight Flash!

Jared: And she'll never use that again!

Sadly, he's probably right. The Sailor Guardians' powers seem to have a one-time use clause.

Nephrite dissipates, but he shows up on a nearby rooftop, joined by the other Generals/Four Kings/Beryl's Boy Band.

Jared: Introduction time!

The Bros introduce themselves so we know their names, and then take off for... reasons. Princess D starts to come to, so the Sailor Guardians take off - Ami and Rei joking about Princess D's glasses and how Umino might look handsome without his glasses as well. Usagi is still tired from her lack of sleep the previous night.

Luna: Seriously? Talk about being lazy...

Jared: But she didn't get any sleep last night!

Inside the embassy, Princess D unveils the legendary treasure, which is a diamond statue of the first Princess D. Not the Legendary Silver Crystal. Which means this was all for nothing. On both sides.

And then they realize Usagi isn't there...

Luna: Where did Usagi go?

Jared: She fell asleep. Of course she fell asleep. She read too much manga last night.

That can't be a comfortable bench to fall asleep on.

Me: And she's still transformed.

Jared: Yeah - she's not even awake enough to un-transform.

Tuxedo Mask approaches her and bends down to give her a kiss. And I think it's romantic and fairy-tale-like and cute, so suck it.

Jared: How does the joke go? I need an adult! I need an adult! I know it's all romantic and that, but - she is still, you know, asleep.

I resist the urge to punch him.

Luna: Get away from Usagi right now! Who are you, really?


I'm still resisting the urge to punch.

Luna stares down Tuxedo Mask and - for some reason - we're supposed to believe that he's actually a bad guy. Pfffffft...

Jared: Okay, she had to save him earlier with the umbrella, now he just jumps off the balcony. He has to have some kind of... travel powers.

Me: Earlier, he was trying to pull her back over the side.

Jared: But normal humans can't do that! Although, you'd think Luna would have called him out more - sure, you're calling him out because you're not sure if he's a good guy or a bad guy. Not KISSING HER WHILE SHE'S ASLEEP.

Resisting's over. I don't punch him, but I do bop him on the head with a throw pillow.


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